Arson attack on Co Antrim church

Published Sunday, 20 July 2014
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Police are treating an arson attack on a Co Antrim church as a hate crime.

Arson attack on Co Antrim church
The church has been attacked in the past. (© Pacemaker)

Sometime around 1.30am on Sunday, flammable liquid was poured on the front door of St Mary's Star of the Sea Church on the Shore Road in Newtownabbey.

The liquid was set alight causing scorch damage to the door.

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds condemned the attack as "appalling" and appealed for calm.

He said: "This is a senseless attack. Those who carried out this utterly appalling action only want to stir up tensions and cause offence.

"I hope everyone will be calm and there will not be a tit-for-tat response.

"I trust the police will fully investigate this act and anyone with information will assist them in their efforts," the DUP member said.

Places of worship should be respected. Everyone should treat another place of worship in the way they would like theirs to be treated.

MP Nigel Dodds

Alliance councillor Billy Webb said he was shocked at the latest attack on the church.

He said: "The church has been subject to a number of attacks and hasn't been for some time and I had thought things had quietened down.

"In the past it has been petrol bombed, attacked with paint and an actual device was left at the church.

"Those doing this really need to take a step back. This is just an attack on us all."

He added: "This church along with the others on the Shore Road work very closely together so I'm shocked and horrified this has happened yet again."

Sinn Féin Councillor Gerry O'Reilly said it was fortunate serious damage was not caused and urged those with information about the attack to contact police.

He added: "The people who attempted to set fire to the church need to realise they are not representative of the local community who see their deeds as hateful and despicable.

"This is not the first time that St Mary's Church has been attacked but fortunately the fire did not take hold.

"I would appeal to anyone with information to bring it forward to the PSNI immediately."

A PSNI spokesman said: "Police are treating the incident as a hate crime and anyone with information should contact police on the non-emergency number 101."

© UTV News
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21 Comments
lucylou in belfast wrote (90 days ago):
MICHAEL IN TEMPLEPATRICK==The point is it's ALL wrong; doesn't matter who does it to whom it's ALL WRONG. Until everyone in this place is willing to understand and agree with that then we remain the backwater the playground blame game keeps us bogged down in.
Michael in Templepatrick wrote (91 days ago):
To those complaining about me not condemning attacks on orange halls : firstly you don't see catholic priests out trying to stir up trouble on the streets every year, playing provocative insulting tunes, waving banners dedicated to terrorists or urinating over orange halls. If you're going to criticise me at least compare like with like.
lucylou in belfast wrote (91 days ago):
VEE while I agree with Dorothy in Kansas[ Avenue] RE religion being thrown into the mix of the troubles here due to your worship as RC or Protestant being seen to define what your political outlook would be. I do however think that someone who when attending funerals or weddings sometimes doesn't know what denomination she is at would be cautious re giving lectures on RE. For example I was always under the impression that Roman Catholics and Protestant denominations were simply that, different DENOMINATIONS of CHRISTIANITY with some differences in how they practice that religion. As for a fair and unbiased version of Irish history she needs another trip down the yellow brick road for that one, cause she's certainly not the one to look to for that .Some of her bigoted short sighted comments are laughable even though she is convinced she's a moderate all embracing shared future kinda girl.
Jos in Belfast wrote (92 days ago):
Good to see Unionist politicans condemning this attack. At last they woke up to the fact that the ground wont eat them up for doing so.
Dorothy in Kansas wrote (93 days ago):
Vee in Belfast... Ask the people who attack churches, of both denominations, to explain transubstantiation and I bet none of them could hazard a guess. You say there is a world of difference between the religions, when for the ordinary people, there really isn't. I think there is such a thing as an unbiased history of Ireland, if people come to it with honest open minds and a willingness to see the other person’s point of view. Finally, your comment is depressing; both of your points are negative and you say nothing about my point that the problem is Nationalism, both British and Irish.
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